The playing field of economic research on athletics, particularly professional athletics, is dominated by men’s sports and the “big four” -- football, baseball, basketball and hockey. In an effort to level the field, and promote a comprehensive economic analysis of women's sports, Eva Marikova Leeds, Ph.D., associate professor of economics and business at Moravian College, co-edited Handbook on the Economics of Women in Sports. The revealing collection of essays, released this summer, was published by Edward Elgar Publishing and co-edited by Michael A. Leeds, professor of economics at Temple University.
While women's sports have received much less attention from economists than from other social scientists, Handbook on the Economics of Women in Sports files the gap, using current theoretical models and econometric tools to examine the legal, social and economic forces that affect the experiences of female athletes. In addition, the book utilizes several prominent names in sociology and economics literature on sports to also analyze how the behavior and treatment of female athletes reflect broad economic forces.
“We were hoping to both advance and encourage more research in the area of women’s sports,” explained Leeds.
The team of contributors addresses such traditional topics as discrimination against female athletes and coaches and the effect of athletic events on the economies of host countries. They also apply theory and estimation to new settings, such as how women respond to tournaments in skiing and figure skating or how the growing dominance of Korean women on the LPGA tour is a form of immigration.
In a step into unchartered waters, the book also presents the first full analysis of the WNBA – the lone professional counterpart to the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL – to appear in literature. The WNBA chapter, written by David Berri and Anthony Krautmann, unpacks the history of the league and offers a “Moneyball” kind of analysis of earnings in the league.
Handbook on the Economics of Women in Sports encompasses the entire spectrum of international perspectives, from Korean and Australian sports, to world competition at the highest level of the Olympics and international championships. Book chapters delve extensively into subject matter, examining topics such as the different motivations of men and women for exercise, as well as why the proportion of women college coaches has steadily declined since the passage of Title IX in 1972.
“Several chapters note that women will continue to lag behind men in their absolute athletic accomplishments, for example in driving distance in golf and in running times in foot races. While the professional opportunities for female athletes have grown, the book notes that women are limited both by their weaker results and, more importantly, by perceptions of women athletes that lag behind,” said Leeds.
Handbook on the Economics of Women in Sports is now available on Amazon.com.
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